Important Information on Mitral Stenosis

Symptoms of Mitral Stenosis

The symptoms of mitral stenosis depend on how severely and quickly the condition develops. Most often, mitral stenosis is mild, and symptoms develop slowly. Since symptoms may not appear for many years, some people are completely unaware that they have mitral stenosis.
If symptoms do occur, they can include:
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath (especially when exercising or lying down)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Heart failure
  • Coughing up blood
  • Swelling in the ankles and feet
  • Increased urination.

Making a Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose mitral stenosis based on the patient's symptoms, a physical exam, and certain tests and procedures. The tests to diagnose this condition can include:

Treating Mitral Stenosis

The treatment a healthcare provider recommends for mitral stenosis will depend on:
  • The severity of the mitral stenosis
  • The patient's general health
  • How quickly the condition has progressed.
People with mild mitral stenosis may not require any immediate treatment. The healthcare provider may simply recommend regular checkups and certain tests (stress tests, electrocardiograms, and echocardiograms) to monitor any progression of the condition. However, preventive antibiotics should be used for any surgeries, including dental procedures.
For more severe cases of mitral stenosis, medical treatment may be recommended. Treatment does not cure the mitral stenosis, but it can help relieve the symptoms. Medical treatment can involve:
  • Medications
  • Activity limitations
  • Lifestyle changes (such as limiting the amount of salt in the diet).
Surgery to repair or replace the mitral valve may be recommended for a person who is severely limited by the symptoms of mitral stenosis, despite being on medication. Surgery may also be recommended in cases where the disease is progressing rapidly.
Surgery to repair the mitral valve usually eliminates the regurgitation or reduces it enough to make the symptoms tolerable and prevent damage to the heart. Surgery to replace the mitral valve (called mitral valve replacement surgery) eliminates the regurgitation entirely.
The doctor may also recommend a balloon valvuloplasty. In balloon valvuloplasty, a balloon-tipped catheter is threaded through a vein and eventually into the heart. Once inside the valve, the balloon is inflated to expand the valve opening.
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